11 December, 2012 - In 2013, the British Pullman and Northern Belle, sister trains to the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will be taking guests in style and comfort on a number of new exciting and interesting day trips across Great Britain, departing from a host of regional stations year-round.
As leisure rail travel and the vintage era are as topical as ever, a journey back in time to relive the Golden Age of Travel in Art Deco surroundings is just the ticket. Delicious fare is served aboard the train by liveried stewards as the train passes through the scenic countryside. Whether it is with friends or family, a trip aboard either train is an experience of a lifetime and there is a trip to suit everyone, from visits to stately homes, seaside towns, great British sites and city or weekend escapes.
Fun for all the family
Family focused journeys are also an exciting new addition for 2013 to the Northern Belle schedule. A visit to Chester Zoo on 10th May, 8th June and 8th November from a number of departure points is the perfect choice for animal lovers who will be given a behind-the-scenes experience. The zoo has the world’s largest Jaguar enclosure and Europe’s largest group of Orangutans so it won’t disappoint. An adventure to Edinburgh Zoo, home to the only giant Pandas and Koalas in the UK is also on offer on various dates.
Budding wizards will be spell bound on the journey to the Warner Brother’s Studio and World of Harry Potter on either 9th and 30th August or 12th October. After brunch is served onboard, there will be a behind-the-scenes walking tour of the studio and an opportunity to explore the Harry Potter set and get up close with the props and costumes used and worn by the star cast in the films.
What better way to tempt the whole family away from their computers and TV’s than a promise of an exciting rail trip. Put the shopping lists aside and enjoy some quality time with the family during the brand new Sunday Lunch aboard the Northern Belle. Available from many departure points throughout 2013, the team of chefs aboard the train have created a modern twist on the quintessential British meal, accompanied by musicians playing some old favourites through the carriages, it is a delightful way to spend a Sunday.
Best of British
Combining Castles with Champagne, the Northern Belle, often referred to as the ‘Orient-Express of the North’ will travel to several of the UK’s most famous historical sites. Departing on 20th April from Crewe, Liverpool, Stafford and Warrington, the decadent carriages will travel to Cardiff to visit the city’s famous castle with a history of over 2,000 years.
New to the schedule is a day out to Muncaster Castle and Gardens, firstly departing from Bolton, Crewe, Manchester and Wilmslow on 25th May and then from Edinburgh and Glasgow on 18th August. This historic castle is set in 70 acres of stunning gardens against the backdrop of the Lake District fells, and is home to the World Owl Centre with over 200 of these amazing birds, two of which will be sponsored by the Northern Belle in 2013.
A journey that combines a deep mine experience and Sheepdog Trials is a rather different way to spend the day as the Northern Belle heads to Wales and the historic mining village, Blaenau Ffestiniog, on 6th July departing from Birmingham, Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton. Descend 500ft on Europe’s steepest mining cable before the Sheepdog Trials demonstration begins with the opportunity to try it out first hand.
In 2012 there were a host of Royal engagements and next year both UK trains will head for a Royal day out to Sandringham House in Norfolk, home to the last four generations of sovereigns. After brunch, guests will arrive at the estate and spend the day exploring the residence of Her Majesty including a walk through the famous gardens before getting back on board for dinner served with Champagne and wine. The British Pullman will depart from London on 17th July and the Northern Belle will travel from Bath Spa, Bristol and Swindon on 19th October.
Go back in time to the era of World War II and experience a day in the life of a spy and experts in code-cracking at Bletchley Park and Museum; leaving from Crewe, Liverpool and Warrington on 30th August and Macclesfield, Manchester and Stoke on Trent on 12th October. Following the war-time TV series, Bletchley Circle, the Park and Museum capture the mood of the era and house the incredible Churchill collection which tells a thousand stories.
If a visit to one of the country’s beautiful cities is a preferred option, the Northern Belle will also be venturing to Stirling, Scotland’s newest city, Oxford, Cambridge and Ely, and Greenwich.
A day by the sea
For those who love to be by the coast, the British Pullman and Northern Belle offer the perfect ticket for some fresh sea air. The Northern Belle will head to Whitby on 5th July from Crewe, Warrington and Manchester and on 28th September from Chester, Warrington and Manchester. During the day, visit the eerie church that gave Bram Stoker his inspiration for Dracula and the well- known cliff top abbey. Travel to Bournemouth aboard the British Pullman for a seaside sojourn on either 7th June or 20th September from London Victoria, the pretty coastal town in Dorset offers an ideal day out away from the big city.
The British Pullman also travels down to the Garden of England on various dates for a day out in the pretty seaside towns of Deal or Folkestone and the Northern Belle visits the Pembrokeshire coastline, a designated national park, on 2nd March and 9th May from regional departure points.
Fine dining is a huge part of the trains’ experience and the Afternoon Tea journeys aboard the British Pullman is no exception. The tea with its ‘Best of British’ focus is lovingly prepared using the finest English local ingredients, complete with delicate finger sandwiches, freshly baked cakes and traditional scones to complement the train’s roots, including Tregothan Tea from Cornwall. Several departures are available in 2013.
Keen foodies will be tempted by a day out to Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons for the ultimate culinary experience in Oxfordshire. Wander through the hotel’s world famous gardens before sitting down to a decadent two-course lunch prepared by Raymond Blanc’s team of expert chefs, departures available aboard the British Pullman from London Victoria on 20th March or 18th September and from Crewe, Stafford and Birmingham aboard the Northern Belle on 28th November.
Signature dining journeys are also a key highlight of the 2013 exciting schedule for both trains. The Golden Age of Travel Lunch trip on the British Pullman is a decadent five-course lunch served by liveried stewards with Champagne and wine. Settle into a comfy armchair appointed in one of the train’s vintage carriages and sit back and relax as the train pulls out of London Victoria for a round trip through the picturesque British countryside. The Golden Age of Travel Lunch is also available as a steam-hauled journey, for the ultimate rail experience.
The Northern Belle’s Spirit of Travel Lunch offered throughout the year, a day filled with delectable cuisine, Champagne, wine and strolling musicians as the carriages journey past stunning countryside vistas on a round tour.
A selection of themed Dinner trips are also available on both trains throughout the year for a unique dining experience.
The perfect gift for rail enthusiasts
The Northern Belle will be operating a new trip to Snowdon, picking guests up from Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield on 18th May, for a majestic mountaintop journey to the rooftop of Wales. Once disembarked from the Northern Belle, climb aboard the carriages of a rather different train for the ascent to the summit of Mount Snowdon, over 3,000 feet above sea level and Wales’ highest peak. From here, marvel at the incredible views of woodland and volcanic rock faces before taking a leisurely stroll around the town of Llanberis.
Next year and for the first time ever, steam enthusiasts will be given the rare opportunity to go behind-the-scenes to view the locomotive being prepared before the signature Golden Age of Travel steam-hauled lunches. On these special trips, the British Pullman is hauled by Clan Line, the Merchant Navy Class locomotive. View it in situ in the depot and watch the crew carry out their duties before joining the train back at London Victoria. This unique experience can be purchased for two people for a £500.00 supplement with any Golden Age of Travel steam-hauled lunch in 2013.
A new addition to the Cornwall Weekend, part of the British Pullman’s Weekend Escapes programme, features Tregothan Estate, home to English Tea and open only one weekend a year to the general public. After departing London Victoria on 26th April, the train heads south to the West Country for a two-night break passing some of Britain’s most breathtaking scenery en route. The tour of Tregothan also includes a visit to the Botanical Garden and cream tea in the Smugglers Cottage. Other options for the Cornwall Weekend include, Padstow, Tresco, The Eden Project and South Devon.
The Northern Belle has a host of Weekend Escapes to choose from, departing from various locations over the UK. For a lively Scottish city break, the Edinburgh Tattoo Weekend is the ideal break combining sightseeing and culture, or travel to St Andrews, the home of golf, staying at the Old Golf Course Hotel & Spa. Antique lovers will be intrigued by a weekend in York, spending time strolling along the cobbled streets to find some vintage gems. All three weekend stays depart on 3 August 2013.
Alternatively, keen ramblers will be tempted by the weekend to the Lake District departing on 17 August, staying in the Linthwaite Country House Hotel, overlooking the beautiful Lake Windermere.
On all day trips with an off-train excursion, brunch is served on the outward journey with a signature Bellini followed by a four-course dinner with champagne and wine on the return. Prices per person aboard the Northern Belle start from £185.00 and from £205.00 per person for the British Pullman. Weekend breaks aboard both trains start from £720.00 per person.
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Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. is a luxury hotel company and sophisticated adventure travel operator which seeks to deliver memorable experiences that are the ultimate expression of each destination's authentic culture. The Company has offered exceptional luxury travel experiences since 1976, when it purchased Hotel Cipriani in Venice and then shortly thereafter recreated the celebrated Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, linking London, Paris and Venice, along with other European cities. Today the Orient-Express brand embraces 45 hotel, restaurant, cruise and luxury rail businesses in 22 countries, including distinctive properties such as Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Grand Hotel Europe in St Petersburg, Hotel Ritz Madrid, Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro and Maroma Resort and Spa on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. The Company also operates six luxury tourist trains, two river cruise operations and the ‘21’ Club, one of New York’s most iconic restaurants and watering holes. www.orient-express.com